Wake Up Narcolepsy’s Medical Advisory Board includes leading scientists, researchers and physicians. These deeply dedicated narcolepsy experts provide opinions and guidance to the WUN Board of Directors on scientific, clinical and public policy matters.
Meet The Experts
Emmanuel Mignot MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Center for Narcolepsy at the Stanford University School of Medicine
Dr. Mignot is internationally recognized as having discovered the cause of narcolepsy. He is also known for his discovery of a polymorphism of the “clock” gene that appears to alter individuals’ internal biorhythms, and for finding a gene variant that predisposes a person to sleep apnea. Dr. Mignot is a former student of the Ecole Normale Superieure (Ulm, Paris, France) and received his MD and PhD from Paris V and VI University in France. He practiced medicine in France for several years before serving as a visiting scholar at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Center and later as a visiting assistant professor at Stanford. Dr. Mignot joined the Stanford faculty as acting assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and was named director of the Stanford Center for Narcolepsy in 1993. He was named Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in 2001.
Dr. Mignot has received numerous research grants and honors, including National Sleep Foundation and National Institute of Health Research Awards, the Narcolepsy Network professional service award, the Drs. C. and F. Demuth 11th Award for Young Investigators in the Neurosciences, the W.C. Dement Academic Achievement Award in sleep disorders medicine, the CINP and ACNP awards in neuropharmacology, and the Jacobaeus prize.
He is co-author of more than 100 original scientific publications, and he serves on the editorial board of scientific journals in the field of sleep-disorders research. Dr. Mignot is an active member of several professional and governmental organizations. Visit Stanford Center for Narcolepsy.
Thomas E. Scammell, MD, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Medical Director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders, Boston Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Scammell’s lab focuses on the neurobiology of sleep and the neural basis of narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is caused by an extensive and selective loss of the hypothalamic neurons that produce the orexin neuropeptides (also known as hypocretins). This cell loss generally occurs in the teens or young adulthood and results in lifelong sleepiness and cataplexy, brief episodes of muscle weakness that are similar to the paralysis that occurs during REM sleep. Much of Dr. Scammell’s current research focuses on mouse models of narcolepsy, as mice lacking orexins also experience sleepiness and frequent episodes of cataplexy. Dr. Scammell’s lab hypothesizes that orexins normally stabilize the activity of wake-promoting brain regions, but absence of orexins produces rapid transitions from wakefulness into sleep, and intrusions into wakefulness of REM sleep elements, such as cataplexy or hallucinations. Additional research focuses on how positive emotions trigger cataplexy, and the changes in human brains when narcolepsy develops.
The major goals of Dr. Scammell’s lab are to identify the neural mechanisms through which the orexin system controls sleep and wakefulness and to determine how loss of the orexin peptides results in sleepiness and cataplexy. Learn more at Dr. Thomas Scammell’s Laboratory website.
Dr. Indra Narang is the Director of Sleep Medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, and an Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at the University of Toronto. She undertook her fellowship training between London (UK) and Toronto, Canada. She then went on to complete her sleep training at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia under Dr. Carole Marcus. Dr. Narang completed her doctoral thesis at the University of London (UK).
Her current clinical and research interests are focused on obesity associated obstructive sleep apnea and cardiovascular risk, control of breathing during sleep, and narcolepsy in children.
Dr. Jason Coles, MD, is a Sleep Medicine specialist at Spectrum Health Medical Group and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His busy clinical practice is equally divided between adult and pediatric patients. He is board certified in Sleep Medicine, Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. Dr. Coles is a graduate of Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, and completed residency and fellowship training at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire. He holds the position of Clinical Assistant Professor at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.
Dr. Coles specializes in all sleep disorders throughout life, but has particular clinical interest in identifying and treating sleep disorders in childhood to maximize long term academic success, psychological well-being, and physical health.
We deeply appreciate the service of past Medical Advisory Board member Dr. Kelly Carden
Learn more about WUN’s Research Program